Meet Saulius, Vinted’s Global Shipping Programs Lead. Here, he shares the story of his return to Lithuania, explains the ins and outs of shipping, and talks about how we can contribute to a sustainable world.
What’s your name, what do you do at Vinted?
My name is Saulius, and I lead Global Shipping Programs at Vinted. We focus on tackling strategic problems and building new businesses around the shipping vertical.
When and how did you join? Why? (Be honest!)
It was unexpected. I was living in Berlin and leading strategic projects at the biggest digital freight forwarder in Europe. At the time, I had no interest in going back to Lithuania. But then Mantas, Vinted’s Co-founder, reached out and presented me with the opportunity to work at Vinted.
I was a bit skeptical at first, but during our meeting, Mantas shed some light on Vinted’s vision, growth trajectory, the importance of shipping for Vinted’s success, and, most importantly, the problems that need to be solved. It immediately became clear how big the mission was, and how involved I would be in building this vision. So after a few more talks, I ended up back in Lithuania.
Just how important is shipping for Vinted’s success?
Shipping has a unique and broad agenda: it supports the growth of the marketplace and develops new revenue streams for the Vinted Group. In essence, shipping is responsible for ensuring a great selling and buying experience, which revolves around convenience, price, and speed of delivery.
To fulfill our promises, we are running shipping programs for multiple purposes. The first is launching Vinted in new markets; the second is developing new business services with external partners; the third is working on offsetting, reducing, and eliminating CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions; and lastly – creating new routes connecting multiple European countries.
That’s quite a complex range of problems the shipping department has to solve. What does the team look like, and what qualities do you look for in new team members?
I’m proud to say that I have the most diverse team at Vinted. In shipping, we have folks coming from Canada, Switzerland, India, Lithuania, Colombia, and Italy. Professionally, we have people with backgrounds in management consulting, computer science, business development, or geography studies. This diversity helps us to tackle complex problems since we can look at them from different perspectives and find creative solutions.
When looking for talent, I tend to look for three things: motivation, problem-solving skills, and the ability to push things through. Of course, some direct experience is beneficial as we build more operational solutions in-house, but if the above-mentioned qualities are all there, this can be learned on the job.
How does Vinted’s work in the Shipping domain compare to the huge players in e-commerce? What are the similarities and differences?
When speaking of big e-commerce players, I think that day-to-day operations are more solidified there. This means that you work on problems with a limited scope, and follow the organisation’s rigidity and structure. Think about it: you focus on managing a small window of improvement, like trying to drive up metrics from 99.90% to 99.99%. It is, of course, very challenging – but for me personally, it’s not the most exciting stuff.
At Vinted, the scope of challenges is way broader, and change happens faster and more dramatically. Things I worked on one year ago are not relevant anymore, whereas new challenges have emerged. As we’ve built a larger team, I can now focus on more strategic, high-level tasks.
In my opinion, growth is the best indicator of dynamism. When I joined Vinted, the shipping business unit had three people. Now this number has grown to 25. I wouldn't be surprised if, in a year from now, that number reaches 70-80 people. With that level of growth, our responsibilities change completely – something I can hardly imagine at the established e-commerce players.
What makes you excited to wake up and go to work every morning?
Vinted is already quite a big organisation with a lot of established processes and procedures. But in shipping, we are still building a lot of things from scratch. The fact that I can just think about new things, test them out, and then see what happens makes my work really exciting. You learn tons, and you see results delivered immediately.
Why is Vinted’s mission important to you?
It’s important because the world is changing. In 10 years’ time, we'll be living very differently to how we do now. Consumption will focus less on quantity and more on quality, sustainability, and social responsibility. In fashion, part of the solution is to enable a circular economy, and to allow people to re-trade second-hand items.
Before Vinted, if people wanted to buy good second-hand clothing cheaply, it was hard and complex. Now it’s simple to search for bargains and buy very decent clothes.
By the way, do you use the Vinted app? If so, what’s your way of using it?
Yes, of course. Currently, around 30-40% of my clothes come from Vinted. I hope I will step up and increase this percentage to 70-80%. On top of that, I’m a bit of a bargain hunter – I enjoy finding great brands with sweet price tags.
What’s your favorite place in the world (offline and online)?
I’ve been to so many beautiful places in the world that it’s hard to pick one. But if I had to, I think I would choose Cape Town. The blended beauty of the city, the mountains, and the ocean is something that I haven’t seen anywhere else in the world. Also, the energy of the place pushes you to think big and enjoy life.
On the internet, it's Twitter. I never thought that Twitter could be such a powerful tool to build streams of knowledge and information. Through using it, I’ve identified the best people in the world across the issues that matter to me the most, (e.g. technology, product, etc.), and started to accumulate the knowledge.